Bob's Blog

The pragmatism of the apparent Luddite

There’s nothing wrong with scepticism, even a balanced degree of cynicism. Unlike our cousins on the other side of the Atlantic who eagerly grab at anything new and shiny, we pride ourselves on what is commonly known as British reserve, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. Progress and technological advances are exciting, and bring with them exciting opportunities – in marketing as in other arenas. However, before we discard all our old marketing toys in favour of the newest, shiniest ones, let’s use our British reserve for a minute and take stock of what it all means.

Magazine publishers have fixed costs in printing and distribution, ask any of them, and while the Internet promised the end of print, the newsagents are still full of them. Why? Because we like to read them, that’s why.

At the other end of the scale, my mobile phone is capable of everything from waking me up in the morning through advising me on the best options for lunch and chastising me for not doing enough exercise to burn it off again. It’s also used to push advertising… but we still see billboards and newspaper advertising.

So, for the Urban Hypesters (sic) who insist that only the new, shiny marketing ideas can generate sales, and everything else is a bunch of dead ducks, let me put this to you. This Sceptred Isle went decimal in 1972, some 44 years ago, yet we still travel in miles. My European car, quite sensibly, calculates the fuel consumption in miles per gallon, my height, along with my family and friends and, interestingly enough, all of the USA, I measure in feet and inches, my weight in stones and pounds – just pounds in the US; I don’t think they get stones – and when I nip down to the local, I order a pint, not a half-litre, of foamy.

Just because something is tried and tested doesn’t automatically make it redundant. Beware the marketing snake oil salesman.